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National Kidney Month: Fighting Kidney Disease

Every March, National Kidney Month raises awareness of the importance of kidneys and the health consequences of not taking proper care of them.  We can fight the illness by recognizing the risks, identifying the symptoms, and understanding the treatment options. Read on to learn more.

Featured in: March - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

History and Background of National Kidney Month

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March is National Kidney Month. National Kidney Foundation (NKF) initiated observing this event in 2006 to raise awareness about kidney disease and its health. It has grown over the years and has spread across other nations. The peak of this month-long celebration is World Kidney Day, which falls every second Thursday.

Annually, the event highlights different themes. In 2023, it was ‘Kidney Health for All: Preparing for the Unexpected, Supporting the Vulnerable,” underlining the effect of natural or man-made disasters on kidney patients.

The Cause and Its Challenges

fatigued woman
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The primary risk factors of kidney disease are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and genetic predisposition. It can develop without noticeable symptoms until kidney failure occurs, which makes it a silent disease.

Kidney patients show physical symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, and muscle cramps. Mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, and depression, are also common. 

Moreover, managing kidney disease in the long term is a challenging task. Kidney damage prevents the organs from filtering blood properly. This causes the body to retain excess fluid and waste products, increasing the likelihood of developing other diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 7 or around 35.5 million adults in the United States live with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Additionally, 9 in 10 are unaware they have CKD1.

Globally, a recent study estimates that nearly 10% of the world's population, or more than 800 million people, is struggling with CKD.

Ways To Take Care Of Your Kidney

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March marks National Kidney Month, a perfect time to highlight practices that ensure optimum kidney health. 

With its size as big as a fist, the kidney filters bodily waste, balances essential electrolytes, and controls blood pressure. However, health problems arise when a poor lifestyle hinders these vital functions.

For basic kidney care, moderate your protein intake to avoid stressing the organ. Stay hydrated, maintain a balanced diet, and regulate both your blood pressure and sugar levels. Regular health checkups are also important, allowing early detection and management of potential issues.

These straightforward yet valuable strategies help preserve kidney function.

Efforts and Initiatives

Various initiatives bring together healthcare professionals, patients, and advocates to promote kidney health. For instance, the National Kidney Foundation in the United States established the "KEEP Healthy" program, a free health screening initiative for early detection of possible kidney diseases.

Next, the Kidney Health Initiative, a joint effort by the American Society of Nephrology and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, pushes the boundaries of kidney disease treatments. It fosters innovation, prioritizes patient safety, and develops new and effective therapies.

Additionally, the "Kidney Check" initiative is Canada's community-focused kidney health program. It is a collaboration between the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Can-SOLVE CKD Network, and the First Nations Health Authority. 

The initiative aims to screen, monitor, and treat kidney disease within Indigenous communities, emphasizing the need for inclusive and accessible healthcare for everyone, regardless of location.

How to Get Involved and Support National Kidney Month

As National Kidney Month approaches, we have various ways to lend our support:

  1. Participate in local and online events to raise awareness about kidney health.
  2. Share educational materials with your networks, spreading knowledge on the importance of kidney care.
  3. Schedule a health checkup, taking proactive steps towards early disease detection and prevention. Make sure to encourage your friends and family members who have risk factors.
  4. Improve your kidney function. Take time for lifestyle reflection, identifying potential changes like eating healthier and being more active.
  5. Contribute to kidney-related organizations, supporting initiatives to combat kidney disease and improve treatments.
  6. Use relevant hashtags or share personal stories in social media campaigns to spread the message of the cause online.
  7. Advocate for kidney health policies at a community or national level.

Conclusion

National Kidney Month cultivates our awareness of kidney health. It reminds us to choose the proper lifestyle to keep our kidneys healthy. By sharing information with everyone, we can combat this widespread disease faster. So, lend your support not only in March but all year round.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is National Kidney Month?

This annual event aims to raise kidney disease awareness and promote prevention efforts.

2. Why is kidney health important?

Kidneys filter waste products from the blood, balance electrolytes, and regulate blood pressure.

3. How can I prevent kidney disease?

Stay hydrated, maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

4. Who is at risk?

Anyone can contract kidney disease. However, certain factors increase the risk, including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, family history of kidney problems, and older age.

5. How can I show my support?

You can spread awareness through social media, join local events or fundraisers, donate to kidney research organizations, and encourage regular kidney screenings for yourself and your loved ones.

1

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.) Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2023. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2023.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

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